There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered. —Nelson Mandela
Recently when talking to my husband about an event scheduled for Mud Island, I tried to jog his memory about going there. He said flatly, “I’ve never been.” I could not believe that after 20 years of marriage with regular annual trips to Memphis, the city of my birth, and hometown area for most of my family still to this day, that I had not taken him sightseeing around the city. So this holiday weekend I intend to remedy this. We are looking forward to Mud Island, the Peabody Hotel with the famous ducks, the Civil Rights Museum, the zoo, art, music and historical spots, and of course some barbecue. This trip will allow me to show him all of the big spots in the town that he has yet to visit, mostly those places that I have not visited since the time I was a school child going on field trips!
It is a strange thing that the places of our birth seem so ordinary that we often fail to appreciate the wondrous gifts they have to offer. We dismiss them as being nothing special—nothing nearly as grand as those exotic places so far away. Yet these are the places that brought us forth, gave us identity, and sent us into the world. It is these places that we have carried with us going forward into our lives and has shaped how we have viewed every place and people we have encountered since.
And for those, like me, who have found that their true home is a place different from their place of birth, there is a special experience sparked by returning to the familiar places you first called home. It provokes you to recognize and to reflect on all of the changes of your life since the last time you were there. For me, this vacation holds the promise of not just journeying through space but also through time, back to my youth and forward once again to the present, reflecting on all of the steps along the way.
I hope that each of you will have a chance this summer to take a similar journey of reflection on where you have been and how you got to where you are now. Take time to see the long, strange trip of your life – as that of any quest – that likely did not arrive where you originally thought it would but finding the place that you are to be just the place you need to be. Take time to see all of the change and possibility that were inside of you waiting to emerge at just the right moment – and of the change and possibility that remain inside of you waiting to emerge in the days ahead.
Joy, peace, and love,